Mastering the Art of Overcoming Worry with Action and Presence

Jonathan Doyle International Motivational Speaker

In this episode, Jonathan delves into the absolute futility of worry, shedding light on the power of presence and action in the face of uncertainty. Despite a recent training accident leaving him with 12 broken ribs and shattered shoulder, Jonathan’s remarkable recovery underscores the importance of mindset and prayer. Join us as we explore how worrying, while a natural response to life’s complexities, ultimately hinders progress. Discover the transformative potential of embracing the present moment and taking decisive action.

Listen on:
Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Welcome Aboard

    Hello there. My friend, Jonathan Doyle, is with you once again. Welcome aboard to the Daily Podcast. It is good to be with you. It is very early in the studio, it is actually 4:33. A.M., which is going to be important as we discuss today’s concept, the absolute futility of worry. It is very much on my heart to share this with you. It’s an important message and I really hope it’s going to be useful to you.

    Very quickly an update, I know many of you have been following my journey over the last couple of weeks. If you’re not aware, I had another bad training crash two weeks ago. Karen said to me last night that it’s been two weeks today, actually, since the accident. She said to me, Gosh, ‘you said two weeks ago that when you went to sleep on Monday, you had no idea this was going to happen the next day.’ I always liked it when people say that. It’s so often that somebody had some success in something they say, ‘if you told me five years ago that this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have,’ obviously right. Karen goes, ‘Hey, if only you’d known you were going to go to sleep and wake up. Yeah, if I’d known that I wouldn’t have probably gotten up, I would’ve stayed in bed.’

    Personal Experience: Overcoming Challenges

    If you’re not familiar, I had a bad crash. I managed to break 12 ribs, six on the front, six on the back, and shattered my shoulder and collarbone. I had a whole bunch of surgery, but look, the recovery has been phenomenal. It’s just been incredible how fast I’ve healed. A couple of points on that, I think those of you who really do follow me particularly on Instagram: @jdoylespeaks. You know that I take the whole fitness, wellbeing, and nutrition thing seriously. I honestly think that I’m 50, but the pace at which I’ve recovered. Really, I think it’s come down to a couple of things.

    One is just having that strong base and physical fitness coming into the injury. And then just a lot of prayer. I think I’ve had so many people praying for me. Just sending so many good wishes, and I think that’s had a big effect too. So the update is to keep me in your prayers whenever you’re hearing this live, because tomorrow I’ll get all the stitches I’ve had taken out. It’s not my first rodeo. I’ve been down this path before. To be honest, the removal of all the stitches is not the most pleasant part of it, but it’s all good. And we learn to roll with these things, and you live long enough. You’re going to have a few of these things happen, but God is good at them in a good place.

    The Nature of Worry: Understanding Our Minds

    Understanding worry helps us navigate the maze of thoughts to clarity

    So friends, listen, today I want to talk to you about the absolute futility of worry. I want to talk to you about this because I’m in the studio at 4:35 AM now, because I woke up at 2:22, the triple two’s, and I had a whole bunch of stuff on my mind. As I sent a message a moment ago, it’s not my first rodeo. In many years, I had seasons where there’s a lot going on. And if you’re anything like me, your mind can begin to really go to work on the problems that you face. You might have a naturally anxious disposition. We’re all different, on a spectrum somewhere from completely chilled all the time to hyper-anxious all the time. But it’s very normal for us to default to worrying about the complexities of our lives.

    Navigating the Modern Landscape of Concern

    In our fast-paced world, we juggle diverse concerns, reflecting our evolved risk sensitivity

    As I’ve said so many times, we live in a moment in history where the nature of the new cycle of media, social media, is presenting us with an absolute plethora, a smorgasbord of things to be concerned and worried about. It’s understandable that minds are going to go to work on these problems. And it’s also because as a species, we definitely evolved to be sensitized to risks and the dangers that surround us.

    But for most of our human history, those dangers were pretty darn predictable. It was about food security—not being eaten by things and not being killed by other tribes. That’s pretty much all we had to worry about. They were existential threats, there were real things, but the brains that we had then are pretty similar to the brands we have now, but the potential worries that we can experience just accelerate, 

    Here in my country at the moment, maybe it’s similar to yours. The new cycle is obsessed with interest rate rises and cost of living increases. This old saying in the media—if it bleeds, it leads. That fear is always going to get eyeballs. So look, I totally get it. If you find yourself at times concerned and worrying about things, you can worry about your relationships, your marriage, or your dating. Hopefully, you’re not worrying about marriage and dating at the same time. It’d be awkward. You might worry about your kids. You might worry about your finances, your health, and all these different things.

    Breaking the Habit: Rethinking Worry as a Strategy

    Endless worry rarely leads to insights; clarity often does

    I want to really just suggest to you the essential futility of worry as a strategy. Worrying and rumination—you know, rumination is that kind of thing where we just play things over and over again and we just keep rolling through the fears that we have. Literally, it doesn’t change the circumstances. Now I know, you understand that on one level, but I think what we do is fall into this habit of thinking well; if I’m thinking about it, if I’m concerned about it, if it’s occupying us, we’re thinking. Maybe I’m going to come up with a strategy, maybe this reading’s going to help me come up with some great insight. And that doesn’t tend to be the case.

    This tends to be the case. If you think about the big breakthroughs you often have in life, the great moments of insight or breakthrough don’t tend to come lying in bed at 2:00 AM, worrying about something. My experience has been that we’re looking for these states of being that we can get into. There’s times like when you have a really long shower and you get some brilliant insight, it’s because your body and brain get into this relaxed state, and you suddenly get an insight you didn’t have.

    The Importance of State, Story, and Strategy

    Balancing state, story, and strategy guides personal development to success

    For me, it used to be that I would get up at some ungodly hour, go and do a ridiculous training ride. Come back, take a hot shower, and have a coffee. In that state, I reckon I could solve pretty much global hunger and every other problem on the planet because you’re in a great state. Many times I’ve talked about the three S’s, state, story and strategy. Most people look at strategy all the time, but what you want to do is get yourself into a better story, and you want to do that by getting in a really good state.

    So what I’m saying here is that defaulting to worry as a strategy is going to be suboptimal. It really is not going to be a strategy that’s going to move you forward. What I did today is when I woke up at 2:22. I just immediately knew that this was going nowhere. And I only know that because I have been alive for long enough, it’s part of the joy of doing this podcast. Part of the joy of getting a bit older is that I actually do feel that some of what I try to share with people now comes from not so much something I’ve watched or something I’m trying to copy from someone else. It’s come from living long enough to know what sort of works and what doesn’t work.

    I really want to put on your heart today that worrying is a strategy that is suboptimal. And so what does work is action, what does work is movement. If you just heard that big breath there, that was me trying to breathe with six, 12 broken ribs. I have to take these big breaths. What does work is action and movement, and moving out of rumination.

    The Power of Presence: Embracing the Moment

    Embrace presence, find peace in life's challenges, stay anchored in the present.
    Embrace presence, find peace in life's challenges, stay anchored in the present

    I got up and went to my downstairs office. I had about an hour or so of prayer, I had a good cup of coffee, I got plenty of hydration, and then I came into the studio to share this. My problems are still there. I don’t know how you perceive my life, but I definitely have plenty of problems.

    I saw something yesterday that made the point that we’re always going to have them. Sometimes we can labor under the illusion that we’re heading to a place in our lives when we’re going to be problem-free. Whether you pay off your mortgage, when your kids graduate, when you get that promotion, or when you finish university or college. We all think we’re going to get to this place and the problems are going to stop. They’re not going to stop; it’s a really important insight. For as long as you’re breathing, you’re going to have problems. They can, and they’re going to fluctuate at different times in life, so they’re never going away.

    Harnessing the Power of Now: Taking Action Amidst Uncertainty

    There’s some freedom in knowing that, but what we can do is be present in the moment, take action, keep moving forward. Because life’s going to happen anyway, and lying in bed or sitting somewhere ruminating and worrying about things is literally not going to change the outcome. I really believe this when we don’t tend to get insights; you don’t tend to get breakthroughs in moments of being really miserable, worried, and stressed out. 

    So I found a cool quote for this from a guy called Leon Brown. And Leon just says,

    "Do not worry about the past or the future. This moment needs your attention, for this is where your life exists."

    I think that captures the entire mindfulness industry that so much suffering happens by projecting into a future that hasn’t arrived, and depending on our personalities, seeing the worst possible future at times. But the only place that you really have, where you really exist, is right now. So the actions that you are undertaking in the present moment are significant things that are going to change stuff.

    Cultivating Discipline: Moving Beyond Worry

    Cultivating discipline is like sailing through storms: facing worry but steering towards growth.
    Cultivating discipline is like sailing through storms: facing worry but steering towards growth

    The last thing was, I guess I want to say to you that this is a discipline. So it’s not enough for me to share this with you, and you go, ‘yeah, that sounds like a good idea, Jonathan’s right. I shouldn’t worry so much and just get on.’ But this is literally a discipline. And again I can teach it to you because I’ve been spectacularly bad at it for significant periods in my own life. So the path to growth here is realizing that you have to get a little bit in control of your own ship. You have to be in a certain place. 

    We go. I’m doing it, I’m not going to do it, I’m going to take action instead. And that’s literally the framework that I had this morning. So literally, I’m like, I know what I default to, I know what I do in these situations, and I’m not going to go down there. I’m going to stop myself from following this mental path and I’m just going to get up. And this voice in my head says, Oh, you’ll be so tired today if  you’re getting up at 2:00 AM. I’m not getting up at 2:00 AM every day, I’m not advocating some kind of crazy lifestyle. I’m just saying I know what this looks like. Try and get some rest today, but I know that lying in there ain’t going to do it. And I know that I have to have the discipline to keep myself moving forward.

    Finding Freedom in Acceptance

    Set acceptance free like a bird; find freedom in action, not worry

    So you need to get on your own team. You need to realize that rumination and worry are futile. They are not going to give you the insights and strategies you need. What does matter is the action. And for me, it’s a prayerful action. It’s like really trying to allow God to speak into that space. So that my action isn’t just random and futile. I try and trust that it’s guided over time.

    There’s just this freedom that comes when you go, look, maybe it all does go sideways. But last week I talked about how, even if things do go sideways, even if things don’t go the way you want, you’ll find a way. You’ll work it out, you’ll still be loved, you’ll still have good people around you. You’re going to find your way.

    So my friends, can I encourage you today to meditate on the absolute futility of worry. The absolute futility of worry as a strategy is suboptimal, it doesn’t work. What works is being aware that your life’s happening in the present moment and that you need to be moving, you need to take action. You need to get yourself in a better state. And you need to keep living and getting through a day at a time. And just one eye in the future—just a half an eye  in the future—about where you’re trying to track towards and then take action in it in real time, do stuff.

    Connecting and Engaging

    All right. Friends, that’s it. I hope that’s useful to you. Let me know where you think you can find me. Everything’s on the website: I do consultancy work, my speaking work, book me to speak. It’s all there. On Instagram, you can find me at @jdoylespeaks and YouTube, and all the links will be here somewhere. If you’re not a regular subscriber, it is a huge blessing if you subscribe, I’d love for you to do that. And if you found anything useful today, I’d love you to share it with people or my friends.

    God bless you. My name is Jonathan Doyle. This has been the Daily Podcast. And you and I are going to talk again tomorrow.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Jonathan Doyle


    I’m on a mission to liberate the potential of the incredible people that make up your organisation, school, or business.

    Recent Posts